The weekend was fast approaching and so was the question, “Where to go this time?” And that’s how we stumbled upon the thought of exploring one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites : Ajanta Ellora caves. These caves are placed in the outskirts of Aurangabad. From Mumbai, Aurangabad is at a distance of approx 7 hours by road (excl breaks and traffic) and is also well-connected by buses & train, which ply regularly on their respective routes.
Two days were what we had to assimilate the history of these impeccably carved caves. Although I’d been to Ajanta Ellora once when I was a kid, I couldn’t recall visiting this place before, making me further curious to explore them. After all the planning we set out on a road trip to Aurangabad, taking halts midway for meals and refreshments. Ajanta Ellora is consistently called out in harmony which had made me wonder whether they were a single set of caves. I was invariably under the impression that it belonged to just one set of caves but realized later on that they were completely contrasting, sharing two completely dissimilar stories, cultures and origins.
Aurangabad city lies between Ajanta Ellora caves. Both the caves are on opposite sides, making it strenuous to explore both these caves on a single day. Also there is so much of history and stories associated with each cave that it is difficult not lose one into the stories and go back to 3000 years ago when these caves were constructed.
Along with Ajanta Ellora, I also looked into Paithani Sari which is the pride of Maharashtra. Paithani is a form of sari named after Paithan (town in Aurangabad) and is unique to the Maharashtra. Woven by hand, it is one of the expensive sari in India, making it a privilege to own one. Aurangabad manufactures these saris. which are a status symbol among Maharashtrian women. Being inquisitive, I arranged a visit to one of the production centre of these saris. The factory owner was kind enough to enlighten about the entire process one needs to undertake to manufacture Paithani. He explained us about different materials used along with the quantity of each material to be used together. It was an experience to talk with the workers and grasp immensely about this art.
Ajanta which comprises of 30 caves is carved in U shape form of structure with each cave showcasing the various reincarnations of Buddha coupled with detailed paintings dating back to centuries ago. These caves encompassed numerous mysteries which were tough to decipher through ones naked eyes. The guide narrated the stories of the paintings and meanings associated behind the old constructions. It’s fascinating to imagine the perseverance and patience that was put into making of these caves when technology was unavailable. After spending few hours in Ajanta we were drained by mind and body due to so much of information & facts and so much of walking in the heat yet we were awed by the splendor of Ajanta before leaving the caves.
Ellora caves contains architecture depicting the Buddhism, Hinduism & Jainism culture which is divided into 100 caves of which only 34 caves are opened for the public. Out of all the 34 caves, the center of attraction was cave no. 16 which is famously called as the Kailasha temple due to its construction. This temple is carved out of a single rock and is the largest single monolithic rock excavation, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ellora leaves you enchanted right on entering. I felt as I had stepped inside a time machine which took me centuries ago during construction of these caves. Every inch of these caves radiated vibes giving reasons to stay longer.
The architecture is surely spell binding and its difficult to believe that this temple was carved by our ancestors with such patience & precision, and without any technology, out of a single rock using the top down approach. The precise sculptures depict the ancient stories and although it’s near to Aurangabad, one can easily spend full day just admiring the precision and beauty of the construction.
See the video on this place:
Have you ever been to Ajanta Ellora? Share your stories with me. Share this post with those who are planning to visit these caves. Also, don’t forget to explore this big & beautiful world. Okay?
Apart from the caves, several other strategic locations form a part of Aurangabad. One can visit the Daulatabad fort & Bibi-ka-maqbara (duplicate of taj mahal). Read their reviews on TripAdvisor.
20 thoughts on “Visiting the Ajanta & Ellora caves”
This is the kind of post I love finding – where I learn about a place I’d never even heard of before! Both Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves sound fascinating to visit, and I can see the clear advantage of making a guided visit so you can understand the history and significance of everything you see.
Yes i agree! These caves are also a UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India and i hope you will come visit it one day 🙂
Wow, these caves look beautiful. I’ve never been to India, but it reminds me ever so slightly of Petra and how the people carved those caves right in to the rock. That’s quite a drive to back, so is there someplace nearby the caves to stay overnight? Surely you didn’t drive there and back all in the same day.
Thanks alot! These are one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in India and the nearest city where you should stay is Aurangabad which is situated in the State of Maharashtra. I hope you get a chance to visit them one day!
A great post and a place we knew nothing about. This is why we love travelling, we must get to India.
I hope you do that soon 🙂
That red fruit looks delicious. India has so many sights. I feel like it takes a lifetime to discover all of them. This one looks beautiful! Thank you for sharing!
You are absolutely right! I still have to discover so many places!
Never got to visit these caves, though have heard a lot about them. The architecture really is something worth more than just a praise. Loved the short video as well. 🙂
Yeah! The caves are worth visiting! Thank you 🙂
I’ve been dying to get to India to explore and experience it’s incredible rock cut structures – Ajanta and Ellora Caves are both on my list. From what I’ve read and seen, I think Ajanta has some of the finest examples of Indian art through the ages.
Yes both these caves are amazing and also takes up one full day each! There’s a lot of walking but really worth it! I hope you come to India 🙂
I had never heard of these caves before now, but they look absolutely enchanting! I’ve always wanted to visit India, and this gives me one more reason! Thank you for sharing such an interesting world heritage site!
I’m glad you loved it ! You’re most welcome 🙂
If I remember correctly, I have seen these caves before in a documentary. It surely is very fascinating especially if one thinks how they achieved all these in the olden times. Paithani is quite interesting as well. Now im googling what makes it special.
I’m glad you loved it! Yes, Paithani is very popular in the Indian state of Maharashtra 🙂
I love the Ajanta and Ellora caves! I remember the first time I visited them on a trip from school. The frescos and rock sculptures are beautiful. Paithani sarees are so pretty with the peacocks woven into them. Your post has certainly made me nostalgic.
I had been there too when I was a kid! But can’t remember anything about it!
The opening photograph looks incredible. It really drew me into the story. I’ve never heard of the Ellora Caves before but I do have a thing for UNESCO sites. One day, I’ll tick this off the list.
I’m glad you got acquainted with these! They’re magnificent 🙂